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World writers from across the globe to gather in Quebec City for the 81st PEN International Congress

Wednesday 7 October 2015 - 2:55pm

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Quebec City, 7 October 2015 - Some 250 delegates, including PEN members from over 80 Centres across the globe will congregate in Quebec City, Canada for the 81st PEN International Congress on 13 October, hosted by Quebec PEN. Participating writers include Margaret Atwood, John Ralston Saul, Yann Martel, Russell Banks, Joseph Boyden, Dany Laferrière, Joséphine Bacon, Luisa Valenzuela, Chris Hedges, Jean-François Lépine, Julio César Rivas, Antón Arrufat, Gioconda Belli, Louis-Karl Picard-Sioui, Robert Lepage, Andrew Solomon and Jung Chang among many others.

Themed Translation=Creation=Freedom, the 81st PEN International Congress will provide a platform for writers from around the world to focus on issues of translation of world literature, and the art and profession of the translator, which is a key focus of PEN’s work.

‘This is only the second time in 95 years that PEN has held its Congress in Canada. The last time was 26 years ago. Freedom of expression has not been so under threat around the world, including in the West, since the last World War. Quebec City will be the literary capital of the world for a week, but it will also be the centre of the debate over how we can defend free expression.’ – PEN International president, John Ralston Saul.

‘In the very heart of francophone America, in an effervescent city of culture and creativity, writers will speak out for justice and freedom. Le Centre québécois du P.E.N. international, one of the oldest PEN centres, also conveys writers from all continents to a dialogue on the translator as a creator, a messenger who opens windows and creates landscapes of knowledge and beauty ; at the same time, Quebec City inaugurates its Maison de la littérature and celebrates its Festival Québec en toutes lettres. In the fall; at the best time of the year.’ -  Quebecois Centre president, Émile Martel.

PEN’s diverse and unique community of writers and members gather each year to share ideas, discuss new campaigns and initiatives and highlight emerging issues and challenges to freedom of expression around the world. Members will have the opportunity to attend literary events and workshops, and to share experiences of defending and promoting freedom of expression. In an important gesture of international solidarity, delegates will speak out on behalf of writers that are silenced in countries including Eritrea, Honduras and Saudi Arabia.

The third PEN International/New Voices Award, sponsored by PEN’s Publishers Circle, will also be presented during this year’s Congress. The New Voices Award encourages new writing in countries in which PEN operates and provides a much needed space for young and unpublished writers.

For more information please contact: Communications Manager, Sahar Halaimzai at PEN International | +0044 7845405159

Press secretary, Geneviève Harvey at Quebecois Centre | +1 514-927-1525